The Cereals That Helped Make Breakfast the Best Meal of the Day
Pink Panther Flakes
Post’s Pink Panther Flakes were conceived as a 1972 tie-in with The Pink Panther Show, an animated Saturday morning offering. One popular feature of the cereal was its ability to turn milk instantly pink as soon as it made contact with the flakes.
This could be found on the back of the box: “Have breakfast with the Pink Panther! Pink Panther Flakes are pre-sweetened, pink frosted corn flakes. They’re fun to eat, good tasting and fortified with 8 essential vitamins. Try ’em. You’ll love ’em…”
Source: Pink Panther Flakes
Nintendo Cereal System
It wasn’t around for long after it popped up in 1988, but Nintendo Cereal System came bouncing into the crowded kids’ breakfast market with Mario and Zelda as its secret weapons. Oh, and its ‘fruity’ and ‘berry’ natural flavors.
Zelda and Mario also had their own individual cereal in the same box. Two bags holding the multi-colored offerings were included, with the idea being kids could get creative with however they wanted to mix them together.
Source: Nintendo Cereal System
“Dino, the yip-yip-yappiest lovable pet in Bedrock, has a new surprise. It’s his all-new Dino Pebbles brand cereal. And, it’s direct from Bedrock.So, have fun at breakfast and get your mouth going yip-yip-yip just like Dino.”
So said Post, the makers of Dino Pebbles on the back of the box that contained a rice-based cereal filled in with a heaping helping of multi-colored dinosaur marshmallows. As TV ads for the cereal proclaimed, they were “Marshmallow Dino-licious!”
Source: Dino Pebbles
Trix With Fruity Shapes
Trix can still be found on the shelf at your local supermarket, and since 1959 its mascot, the Trix Rabbit, has been flopping around in various forms. In the earliest days, it was a hand puppet. A hand puppet that must have loved sugar…
“Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!” is still an almost inescapable catchphrase that now goes beyond the world of kids’ cereals. It remains an added earworm for people as they munch away at their bowl of artificially-colored corn puffs.
The Waffle Crisp name is a bit of a tell as far as what this cereal is meant to mimic, and its packaging made it abundantly clear, stating that Waffle Crisp “…gives you the waffilcious taste of real home made waffles in a mini size.”
Nutritionists were never a big fan of the cereal. Not surprising, since any breakfast product bragging it has a “syrupy coating with cinnamon dus” can’t expect to be embraced by the health-conscious.
Source: Waffle Crisp
Cornmeal, sugar, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, oat flour, wheat starch, salt — with those as its first seven ingredients, who wouldn’t want to have a heaping helping of Sprinkle Spangles to start their day?
As is often the case with sweetened breakfast cereals, the lack of nutritional value was masked by a colorful mascot — in this case, a purple genie. Kids learned the upside of having him in their corner: “So wish real hard, and believe in him too, and he just may grant, Sprinkle Spangles to you.”
Source: Sprinkle Spangles
Ice Cream Cones
General Mills’ Ice Cream Cones is known for having both cones that tasted like what you’d get in an ice cream parlor and a much sweeter, round portion that could be stacked on top to form a complete mini treat — minus the potential for brain freeze.
Commercials for Ice Cream Cones featured Ice Cream Jones, a fellow who would hop on his bike and hand out the cereal to kids around the neighborhood.
Source: Ice Cream Cones
Mud & Bugs
Only in the world of breakfast cereals could a company advertise their product having ingredients resembling bugs and people chalking that up as a positive.
This chocolate-based Kellog’s and Disney co-production was more about entertainment than nutrition, coming with a read-along DVD that featured stories and songs for the young ‘uns. It also listed marshmallow bits as one of its main ingredients (the ‘bug’ portion of the name), right next to sugar and cornmeal.
Source: Mud & Bugs
“A spoonful of spooky fun in every bowl, Count Chocula is a whimsical way to start the day.”
Chocolate, marshmallow and a playful Dracula-like mascot to lure the kiddies in makes for one of the more popular sugar cereals around. Like many of its shelf-mates, Count Chocula relies heavily on marketing to make its case. During one stretch of the ’80s it featured Bela Lugosi ‘guest starring’ as Dracula on the box.
Source: Count Chocula
When it debuted in 1965, Kellog’s Kream Krunch was touted as astronaut ice cream due to its “Chunks of REAL ICE CREAM freeze-dried in a nutritious cereal.” It lasted one year before being yanked from shelves.
Note the ‘KKK’ initials and the vanilla-white mascot. This combo had conspiracy enthusiasts suggesting Kellog’s was a little racially biased, intended or not. Regardless, the original Kream Krunch box is now a rare find and considered a collector’s item
Source: Kream Krunch
OKs are considered to be a direct result of a cereal war staged between Kellog’s and General Mills. Released in 1959 by Kellog’s, the ‘O’ and ‘K’ were very similar in taste to General Mills’ popular Cheerios. In 1962, OKs and its mascot, Big Otis, were discontinued.
Wanting to save on future production costs, Kellog’s re-purposed the manufacturing equipment responsible for the ‘O’s in OKs and in 1963 created — what else? — Froot Loops.
Mr. T Cereal
It was hard to escape the ever-present character of Mr. T (as created by Laurence Tureaud) back in the ’80s. He was fighting Rocky, blowing stuff up in The A-Team and then softening his image for the kids with appearances on Silver Spoons and Diff’rent Strokes.
This t-shaped Cap’N Crunch knock-off had Mr. T proclaiming: “I pity the fool who don’t eat my cereal.” It also listed sugar, brown sugar and salt in its first six ingredients.
Source: Mr. T
French Toast Crunch
French Toast Crunch is one of those cereals from General Mills that has had an on-again, off-again public life since its inception in 1995. Back in 2006, it saw its final days in the U.S. In 2015 it was relaunched in all of its syrupy-flavored glory.
This “crispy, sweetened corn cereal” attempted to bring the ’90s back with it, and the new French Toast Crunch box offered up “Remember the ’90s?” pop culture facts.
Source: French Toast Crunch
“This unique, double-O shape gives you 2 crunches in every bite – a unique experience in all the galaxy.”
In the midst of Star Wars fever and the earlier release of Return of the Jedi, Kellog’s introduced the ‘Double Crunch’ of C-3PO’s in 1984. The commercials for the cereal brought the much-loved droid and the voice of actor Anthony Daniels onto the small screen, which also featured mail-in offers for popular Kenner Star Wars action figures.
Cap’n Crunch’s Oops! Choco Donuts
The floating brown donuts that made up Cap’n Crunch’s Oops! Choco Donuts were about as healthy as ingesting a six-pack of Mars bars washed down with a chocolate milk chaser.
Believe or not, there are product reviews out there from when this cereal was released in 2003, including this one:
“If you’re after the crunch, give it try. If you’re in it for the taste, try another chocolate cereal or one of the Captain’s non-chocolate varieties.”
Disney had one of their characters attached to yet another cereal with the Buzz Lightyear-themed Buzz Blasts, which made its debut in 2002.
Exactly what was meant by Kellog’s with the ‘naturally sweetened’ claim on the box is uncertain, but the multi-colored flying saucers that “…’orbit’ around Buzz Lightyear, the aliens and rocket-ship graham pieces” featured sugar and the aforementioned graham pieces as two of the cereal’s first three ingredients.
Source: Buzz Blasts
Sir Grapefellow and Baron Von Redberry
1972 saw General Mills releasing the one-two punch of Sir Grapefellow and Baron Von Redberry, two cereals with a slightly bizarre tie-in to World War One and Two.
The Sir Grapefellow box features a British fighter pilot with grapes predominantly displayed on his plane’s tail, while Baron Von Redberry represented the German side of things, complete with berries on his plane. Keeping with the German theme, Von Redberry presented nutritional information with a bold “Achtung!” on the back of the box.
Source: Baron Von Redberry
When Post introduced Oreo O’s in 1998, the company was able to claim the dubious title for “Oddest Ingredient List” with its inclusion of “topping.” What exactly “topping” was is unknown, but it immediately followed the more familiar “sugar.”
The box promised “the delicious taste of OREO in a fun-to-crunch cereal.” 2017 saw Post bringing Oreo’s back to American consumers after discontinuing them in 2006. Oddly enough, you could still get a bowl of Oreo in South Korea until 2014.
Source: Oreo O’s
Don’t let the fact that Freakies were made by a company (Ralston, as in Ralston Purina) famous for its dog food ‘freak’ you out. Freakies, along with its seven box mascots, have forged a little place in pop culture history.
This sugar flake cereal, released in 1973, still has fans of its mascots to this day. Some even have websites out there dedicated to them. The cereal was pulled in 1977, but a comeback was attempted ten years later. The Freakies re-birth was over within a year.
Kellog’s Honey Smacks is a close relative of Sugar Smacks — okay, they’re basically the same thing. At some point, having ‘sugar’ in your cereal’s name became a bit of a negative selling point and ‘honey’ seemed a little more…natural.
With a history going back to 1953, Kellog’s ran into trouble with Honey Smacks in late 2018 when the cereal was linked to 30 cases of salmonella poisoning and had to be recalled. Dig ‘Em, the cereal’s mascot, definitely did not dig this.
Source: Honey Smacks